Dream Catchers: Legend, Lore and Artifacts

Cath Oberholtzer. Firefly, $35 (146p) ISBN 978-1-77085-056-9
Dream catchers, the ubiquitous circular, webbed objects found in airport gift shops, truck stops, and New Age stores, hold real significance for the many Native American tribes that created them, writes Canadian anthropologist Oberholtzer in this history of the dream catcher. Dreaming is a central theme of many Native American beliefs, though they can't all agree on what the dreamcatchers are designed to trap (the Lakota Sioux claim good dreams are caught; Crees believe that everything a man used in hunting had to be dreamt first). Noting the fascination with all things Native American from the early British colonial era through the present, as well as the dreamcatcher's incorporation into New Age philosophy, Oberholtzer treats her subject with reverence. (One must look elsewhere for an analysis of how this sacred Native object became debased into truck stop kitsch.) Students of Native American crafts will find the book a useful study; Oberholtzer details in depth the various components and materials used, as well as the item's adoption by various tribes, and the images that dominate the text are welcome, inspiring, and informative. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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